It's not until something happens that a community decides to establish a community watch program. That was the case for Mike Azar who lives in the River Edge Community. “We had several break -ins and that's what started it and then a couple of the guys got together and said we really need to get organized and get something going”
The River Edge community has only had three meetings since establishing the program eight months ago, but Azar already knows starting the program was a good idea. "Just getting to know my neighbors has been really great. Knowing who lives there and knowing who doesn't belong there has also been helpful. "
After a rash of break -in's over the last few weeks several communities are following suit and are setting up community watch programs throughout Dothan. Police say five watch community programs were set up last month and they’re already working to set up three more this month. Cpl Daivd Schwab is the coordinator of the community watch program and he says the areas where new programs are starting were the target of thieves just a few weeks ago. "Unfortunately most people don't think crime is important until you realize someone has just stole something from your car and then all of sudden it matters," explained Schwab.
But an extra eye on would-be criminals doesn’t always mean the crime will stop. "Community watch doesn't mean zero crime, but it has helped them reduce crime," continued Schwab. Police say the watch program is a deterrent but not the final solution. That's why they're encouraging everyone to keep their doors locked and their valuables stored away.